Horticulture Tips


Disposable Gloves

Keep your hands super clean by wearing disposable gloves when gardening (except in the hottest weather).
Tip inspired by: Marilyn Vai


Dump the Hose for an Olla!

An olla is an unglazed clay pot with a fat belly and a narrow neck. It provides controlled irrigation by capillary flow to plants.
Tip inspired by: Kathy McDonough


Buy Cakes and Cookies in the Grocery Store

Re-purpose those grocery store bakery containers into seed starters. Jiffy peat pots are perfect in any of these. Then use them as trays after transplanting the seedlings.
Tip inspired by: Diana O’Hagan


Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose

Backyard garden tools with a repurposed kitty litter container. A five gallon ‘bucket stool’ with an old garden chair cushion which also makes a good kneeler.
Tip inspired by: Diana O’Hagan


A Member Favorite!

The Japanese hori hori garden knife can be used for just about anything.
Tip inspired by: Diana O’Hagan



Diana’s re-purposed one gallon milk jugs with bottom removed, used over tomatoes and pepper plants on cold nights. The cut edge digs nicely into soil. To stop from blowing away, she puts a thin bamboo or pruned twig, 18-24″ long, through the top into the soil and uses an old belt to store them together when not in use.
Tip inspired by: Diana O’Hagan


Mulching Magic

Prior to mulching your new planting beds, place the small container pots that the plants came in upside down to cover the plants (like a top hat). Then mulch away and afterwards, remove the pots and your new plants are clean of any mulch.
Tip inspired by: Eric Wahl


Neat, Efficient and Back Saving!

Use a doggie “scooper” for cleaning up piles of leaves or other garden debris.
Tip inspired by: Nancy Palladino


Secret Lawn Tonic

  • One full can of regular soda (any kind-no diet soda)
  • One full can of beer (no light beer)
  • 1/2 Cup of Liquid dishwashing soap (do not use anti-bacterial dishwashing liquid)
  • 1/2 Cup of household ammonia
  • 1/2 Cup of mouthwash (any brand)

Pour into 10-gallon hose-end sprayer (other sizes will work too)


Boost Your Memory Power!

Take photos of your garden in bloom as a reminder of plant placement. Prevents disturbing dormant plants or plant duplication.
Tip inspired by: Diana Kehoe


Spread the Moss

Existing sample moss from a yard or a garden store.
Equal parts buttermilk (or beer) and water

A blender
A paintbrush (optional)


  1. Measure two cups of water and two cups of buttermilk (or beer).
  2. Pour both into the blender.
  3. Top with moss to fill the blender.
  4. Blend until you have a milkshake consistency.
  5. Paint or pour the mixture on rocks, fences, foundation, bricks, ceramic pots, trees or wherever you’d like to see moss grow.

Additional Notes:
Use a mister to keep moss moist for the first couple of weeks, and if possible grow your moss in a shaded area. The moss should start to grow within 3 weeks.

Tip inspired by: Judy Hanson


New Uses for Knives and Forks

Use clear plastic knives to mark the placement of bulbs in the garden once they have bloomed. The knives are not seen but serve as a reminder of where NOT to dig. If the bed is heavily mulched, black knives can be used. Prevent animals from getting into your garden by placing plastic forks in the soil.
Tip inspired by: Linda Ager


Drying Herbs

The quickest way in the world to dry herbs: just lay a sheet of newspaper on the seat of your car on a hot day, arrange the herbs in a single layer, then roll up the windows and close the doors. Your herbs will be quickly dried to perfection. What’s more, your car will smell great.


No Wheelbarrow? No Problem!

Use a tablecloth to move heavy bags of soil or mulch.


Coffee Filter Liners

Line flowerpots with coffee filters before adding soil, this will help prevent soil leakage through the drainage holes.


Kitchen Weed Killers

Vinegar: Kill weeds dead with a good shot of vinegar.

Vinegar & Dish Detergent: Fill a spray bottle with pickling vinegar & add a squirt or two of liquid detergent. Spray during the hottest part of the day.

Boiling Water: Plug in the kettle, bring it to a boil then pour the hot water over weeds (you’re basically cooking them to death).


Compost Tea

  1. In a very large clean pail, add a hefty shovelful of compost, about 1 gallon’s worth. Pour 5 gallons of water over top. Stir it all up so it’s mixed well.
  2. Brew for three days (min) to one week, stir deeply a few times every day to add oxygen to the water. This mix needs the oxygen, so don’t be skimpy on this part.
  3. After the brewing period, strain the finished product. A piece of muslin or nylon hose can be used as the strainer. Throw away the used compost. The brew in the pail is your tea.
  4. Dilute the final product 10 parts water to 1 part tea and sprinkle or spray this over your plants, pure brew is too strong to use full strength. Use every two weeks (max) or as needed. The tea should smell fresh, earthy.

Lighten Up Your Large Flower Pots

Use packing peanuts to fill the bottom of large pots, this helps save on soil and make them lighter (place the peanuts in plastic bags to alleviate them flying away). Or fill the bottom with wood chips from Lowes or Home Depot. Remember to place landscape fabric over the chips to separate the chips from the soil


Eggsactly What You Needed to Know!

Use empty eggshells as seed starters. The eggshell will add nutrients to the soil when planted.


Ground Eggshells as Pesticide and Fertilizer

It’s a bit of a grisly way to go, but ground eggshells are sharp and can kill pesky pests like beetles and slugs. If you just want a good, natural fertilizer, ground eggshells can add calcium to under-nourished soil.


Vitamin Water

The next time you boil or steam vegetables, don’t pour the water down the drain, use it to water potted patio plants, and you’ll be amazed at how the plants respond to the “vegetable soup.”


Rice Water

The next time you cook rice, don’t toss the used water down the drain. Instead, use it as a natural fertilizer in the garden. Providing natural minerals for the garden, the rice water is an environmentally safe and chemical-free way to provide nutrients to your plants.


Never Carry a Measuring Stick Again!

Turn your rake into a measuring stick. The next time you need to measure the distance between plants, you’ll be ready.


Flower Pot as Garden Tool Holder

Fill a terra-cotta pot with builder’s sand (sold at hardware stores), then stir in some mineral oil—just enough to dampen the sand. The mixture will clean the tools and prevent corrosion and rust. (If the pot has a hole on the bottom, cover it with duct tape.)


Garden Journal

Keep a garden journal in which notes are written regarding current gardens, ideas for future gardens, what worked, what didn’t and so on. Keep any pictures of plants you may want to try in the gardens, plant tags from recent plantings, etc. in the book. It may seem like a lot of work but it makes the gardener’s life easier.
Tip inspired by: Linda Ager and Diana Kehoe


Who Doesn't Like Saving Money?

Join the Home Depot Garden Club! Members get $5 off $50 purchases, and $10 off $100 purchases!
Tip inspired by: Pam Meador


Who Knew?

Mix 1 tsp Epsom salt to 4 cups warm water. Spray on plant and then again 10 days later. Plant will produce more fruit due to boost of magnesium, especially tomatoes, pepper and roses.
Tip inspired by: A friend of Pam Meador


Coffee, Anyone?

Add used coffee grounds to a composter, along with other green and brown materials. The grounds help to create a nitrogen-rich soil. They can also be used as a fertilizer when lightly applied directly in the garden. Acidic loving plants such as tomato plants and azaleas have done well with this method.
Tip inspired by: Mary Founds